HISTORY OF THE RIDE
Horses have always been an important part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). In the early years, they were used for transportation, but now they are a central part of the world-renowned spectacle that is a living symbol of Canada - the Musical Ride.
The Musical Ride developed from a desire by early members of the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) to not only compete amongst themselves and perform tricks on horseback to alleviate the monotony of endless riding drills, but to display their riding ability and entertain the local community.
The RCMP Musical Ride's base is the RCMP Stables in Ottawa. The show is performed by a troop of 32 riders and horses.
Members of the Ride must have at least two years of active police duty before being eligible to apply. They do not need to have any riding experience. Once applicants have passed a rigorous selection process, they attend a five-week basic riding course, followed by another six-month intermediate course. Members stay with the Ride for approximately three years.
Equitation staff is responsible for the horse-breeding program, remount training, equitation courses, ceremonial escorts, parades, displays and of course, the Musical Ride.
The RCMP breeds Hannoverian horses at the Remount Detachment near Pakenham, Ontario. Each horse is 16 to 17 hands high, weighs between 523 kg (1150 lbs.) to 635 kg (1400 lbs.).
Young horses, called remounts, begin their training at three years of age. When they turn six, they start Musical Ride training and begin touring with the Musical Ride.
The horses' saddle blankets, known as shabracks, bear the fused letters MP (the RCMP's registered brand) in the Force's regimental colours of royal blue and yellow.
The maple leaf pattern adorning the horses' rumps is created by using a metal stencil and brushing across the lie of the hair with a damp brush.
Annually, the Musical Ride helps over 40 communities raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for a number of causes.
1. Thirty-six horses,
2. Thirty-five riders, a farrier,
3. Three non-commissioned officers and an officer in charge, travel with the Musical Ride.
Meet the Horse and Riders.